San Simeon, CA

Travel Guide
Ragged Point showing landscape views, a bay or harbor and rugged coastline
As the half-way stop between LA and San Francisco, this Big Sur beach destination is the perfect place to take a break and recharge.

San Simeon, along California’s rugged Big Sur coastal stretch, is a beach destination with a difference. While you can certainly swim or surf in its sheltered cove or fish from its pier, most people drop by to see its preserved “castle” and meet its fascinating elephant seals.

San Simeon, in San Luis Obispo County, sits between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both cities are about 230 miles (370 kilometers) away along Highway One.

Once part of a hugeranchorun by Mexican owners, the land was bought by the rich miner George Hearst in 1865. He soon expanded his ranch and built a wharf with a warehouse on the coast.

Visit the family’s impressive estate, Hearst Castle, on former “Camp Hill.” When his home was finished, Hearst renamed it “the Enchanted Hill” and with its mansions and views it isn’t hard to see why. Take a tour of the century-old complex and admire the Roman and Neptune pools in the gardens. Don’t miss the impressive Gothic Study in the Casa Grande, the main mansion.

Afterwards, throw a line in from the 850-foot (260-meter) San Simeon Pier or take a dip in the Pacific Ocean. The waters of Simeon Cove lend themselves to kayaking and surfing. Body boards can be rented locally, too. The day-use area of the William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach has picnic tables and barbecues, so bring your own supplies for a seaside lunch. Afterwards, stretch your legs by roaming the beach or by following the nearby trail up to the pine trees for lofty ocean views.

Just to the north of the park is the also free-to-access Piedras Blancas Rookery where there are northern elephant seals. Watch these odd-looking creatures doze, scratch, play and swim. While in the area, also tour the 19th-century Piedras Blancas Light Station.

Hotels line the highway on either side in San Simeon. In Cambria, just to the south, you can find many more accommodations as well as restaurants, shops and family attractions. This area may not have five-star hotels and services, but it’s a charming, laid-back region to visit, with some of the best beaches of the Big Sur.

Coast Riders Inn
Coast Riders Inn
3 out of 5
9450 Castillo Dr, San Simeon, CA
The price is $109 per night from Jun 11 to Jun 12
$109
per night
Jun 11 - Jun 12
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly motel in San Simeon. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful ...
9.2/10 Wonderful! (288 reviews)
"A few minutes drive to Hearst Castle, beach across the street, quiet, & easy access from Hwy 1."

Reviewed on Jun 4, 2023

Coast Riders Inn
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
3.5 out of 5
9415 Hearst Drive, San Simeon, CA
The price is $160 per night from Jun 19 to Jun 20
$160
per night
Jun 19 - Jun 20
Stay at this 3.5-star beach hotel in San Simeon. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 outdoor pools. Our guests praise the breakfast and the restaurant in our ...
8.6/10 Excellent! (1,154 reviews)
Tons of fun in San Simeon
"Great property with lots of activities. Giant chess, checkers and tic tax toe, fire pits for s’mores, kite flying, volleyball and the star attraction, the beach!"

Reviewed on Jun 7, 2023

Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
The Morgan Hotel San Simeon
The Morgan Hotel San Simeon
3.5 out of 5
9135 Hearst Drive, San Simeon, CA
The price is $119 per night from Jun 11 to Jun 12
$119
per night
Jun 11 - Jun 12
Stay at this 3.5-star hotel in San Simeon. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
8.6/10 Excellent! (1,002 reviews)
"The room was very clean. There was a working fireplace in the room, you just had to flip a switch. It is walking distance to the beach. It is very close to all the attractions in Cambria and San Simeon. There were beautiful landscaping behind the second building it is where we stayed. The main hotel ..."

Reviewed on Jun 7, 2023

The Morgan Hotel San Simeon
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Striking Oceanfront- The sand at your feet!
Striking Oceanfront- The sand at your feet!
San Simeon
Stay at this beach condo in San Simeon. Enjoy a beach locale, onsite parking, and barbecue grills. Our guests praise the comfy rooms in our reviews. Popular ...
9/10 Wonderful! (14 reviews)
Ocean Side
"We enjoyed this rental and would recommend it to anyone who wants to wake up and spend the day listening to the waves come ashore."

Reviewed on Apr 26, 2022

Striking Oceanfront- The sand at your feet!
Marinus • Luxury Get-Away on the Big Sur Coast
Marinus • Luxury Get-Away on the Big Sur Coast
Ragged Point
Stay at this beach villa in San Simeon. Enjoy free WiFi, a beach locale, and a fitness center. Popular attractions Salmon Creek Falls Trail and Jade Cove are ...
9.8/10 Exceptional! (28 reviews)
Gorgeous
"If you want luxury, seclusion and great location to local sites and activities this is the place for you. Beautiful views of the ocean abound from all rooms, open floor plan built around large common area good for family gathers while providing privacy for each guest to spend time alone. Smoke room ..."

Reviewed on Jan 6, 2023

Marinus • Luxury Get-Away on the Big Sur Coast
Month Long (30+ days only) Vacation Rental with Stunning Ocean Views
Month Long (30+ days only) Vacation Rental with Stunning Ocean Views
Cambria
Stay at this vacation home in Cambria. Enjoy WiFi, onsite parking, and barbecue grills. Popular attractions Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and Cambria Center for the ...
Month Long (30+ days only) Vacation Rental with Stunning Ocean Views
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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